Social Stories™ were developed by Carol Gray, President of The Gray Center.
A Social Story™ describes a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format.
The goal of a Social Story™ is to share accurate social information in a patient and reassuring manner that is easily understood by its audience. Half of all Social Stories™ developed should affirm something that an individual does well.
Although the goal of a Story™ should never be to change the individual’s behavior, that individual’s improved understanding of events and expectations may lead to more effective responses.
Click here for information regarding Carol Gray's right to trademark with regard to Social Stories.
Testimonials from people who have used Social Stories:
In January, 2010, The Gray Center sponsored a contest, asking people to submit Social Story testimonials for a chance to win Carol Gray's newest book, The New Social Story Book: 10th Anniversary Edition. Although we enjoyed and appreciated all of the detailed entries, we had to select three winners. Those are indicated with an asterisk (*), below:
*Nadine, of Grand Haven, MI writes:
"The best experience I ever had using a Social Story was with my son during a road trip...[we] realized our van's clock needed to be changed [due to traveling from one time zone to another] to read the correct time for 'springing' ahead. Within minutes of making this sudden change, my son, who is very time-oriented and very visual, demanded to know why the time was displaying different. No matter how many times we explained our actions, he kept asking about it over and over again. He was becoming very upset. It was then that my husband and I realized it was my son's first time for actually 'seeing' the time change instead of just waking up in the morning with the time already changed. I wrote the Story Time Changes in a rough form while en route on this trip and read it to my son. It helped! His questioning lessened and, once home, he gegan to do his self-talk to process what had taken place. Later, I fine-tuned the story and printed it out for him. During future time changes, it was wonderful to hear him explaining to others how we 'spring ahead' in the spring and 'fall back' in the fall."
Pamela, of Barrington, NH writes:
"I have had great success using Social Stories with children all along the autism spectrum, as well as children with social deficits. I have organized all my Social Stories in a binder with plastic sleeves and a table of contents, and when anyone needs a Story, they go to the binder and take a copy." As an SLP (K-5th grade), she shares that the greatest benefit she has seen to using this tool is "children calmly accepting heretofore upsetting situations--it's amazing!"
Susan of Rock Hill, SC writes:
"As a teacher, I have used Social Stories for 5 years as an intervention to assist students in understanding their enviroment. The Social Stories have helped decrease behavioral events due to students understanding of what they needed to do and providing the structure that they needed to be able to respond to the situation."
*Janet of Sharpsburg, PA writes:
"As a consultant for 15 plus years, I have seen very positive outcomes from using Social Stories. One in particulat still brings a chuckle today. A student was very upset that his teacher had 'killed' a bug in the classroom and a Social Story made up on the spot to explain why some people like bugs and others do not, helped to diffuse the situation..." The initial Story, "BUGS," had to be revised, because the student's response was, "This isn't about bugs, it's about people's responsibilities"--and decided it wasn't for him. The student was more receptive and responsive after the Story was changed to, "Bugs and People's Personalities." Janet adds, " Social Stories are sometimes tricky to write based upon the strengths, needs, and perspective-taking abilities of each student, but well worth the effort."
Camille of Mountain View, CA writes:
"As a teacher, I have used Social Stories for 6 years and it has greatly improved their social skills to the point where they can now go to the dentist, get their hair cut, and function normally in society. Using the Social Stories has allowed my students to mainstream successfully and be rewarded for their good behavior by teachers and the principal. Use of Social Stories has also reduced anxiety, improved relationships, and generally made students happier."
Stanley of Landsdale, PA writes:
"We have used Social Stories for our son who is hyperlexic for 9 years now and have had many successes with them in teaching appropriate behavior." Social Stories also helped for one particularly difficult day when their son was 7 and they had to attend a funeral.
Danya of Winipeg, Canada writes:
"As a literacy and communications coordinator, I have used Social Stories for over 3 years now and have had great success using them. One in particular was a young man who was afraid to have his blood drawn and would become incredibly agitated. A Social Story with step by step wording of exactly what would happen and why, greatly helped to reduce his anxiety. So much so in fact that the young man even asked if they wanted to take another vial of his blood just to make sure they had "enough"."
As a speech and language pathologist and mother of a special needs child, "I have used Social Stories with my daughter who has Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) to overcome challenges she faced at home." One of the more difficult areas for her daughter was eating. People with PWS never feel full and Social Stories helped by using pictures and the story to explain why she had to watch what she ate and why she couldn't eat like her siblings. The Social Story really put things in perspective for her. Denise adds that she has become such a fan of Social Stories that she always carries paper and pencil to write a story as needed.
Siobhan, from Coldwater, Essex, UK writes:
"Social Stories changed the way I interacted with my son. I used them virtually continuously, so that eventually I found that both my husband and myself talked to him in 'social story' language...My son first used them as a nonverbal three-year-old. He now uses them in article type format as he is articupate and a teenager! I attribute Carol Gray's training courses as the turning point in my understanding of my son's perspective." She shares an especially memorable story about writing a Social Story, "How pants work" to help her son keep his underpants on even when there might be a drop of urine on them.
*Kristina of Binghamton, NY writes:
"As a social worker, I have used Social Stories for 3 years now with remarkable success." Kristina notes that one story in particular worked wonderfully with a 37 year old gentleman who struggled in different areas, including his morning routine and rules of the Day House where he spends his days. The Social Stories outlined step by step what the routine for his day would be, like getting up and out of bed, getting dressed, brushing his teeth, and brushing his hair. Another Social Story reviewed what his day would be like at the Day House; who he is; what his likes are; what he does at Day Hab; and what the rules are at Day Hab. These stories are reviewed with him daily per his request and have helped immensely." Kristina adds, "These Stories have created a routine for him; a chance to have a discussion poitn with staff to talk about things that mkae him sad, happy, angry, etc. Another significant outcome is that it allows all staff working with him to be consistent with how they address certain topics such as his morning routine because there is now a reference point for them to discuss with him...the Social Story itself!"
Jean of Tampa, FL writes:
"As the parent of a daughter, I have used Social Stories for over 15 years with her to increase receptive understanding and often surprising revelations of cognitive depth through expressive language." A Social Story written to explain the death of a pet mouse has touched her daughter's life in meaningful ways over the years, including understanding death in nature, death of a friend, and understanding the connection that people die not only from injury, but also from growing old, and also that this might apply to her. It was stunning evidence to Jean that her daughter's concept of herself was so much more complicated and sophisticated than she ever assumed. Jean also relates that using Social Stories has taught her to be very careful to choose words she knows her daughter understands and in the proper context. She has also learned to never assume that a lack of response or reaction indicates a lack of understanding.